Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Wednesday Workshop: Genre Bending

I'm still thinking about Castle by J. Robert Lennon, a literary novel disguised as a regular old mystery. But I'm also thinking about the book I'm currently reading, Nicanor Parra's After Dinner Declarations, a book of poetry disguised as a series of speeches (or is it the other way around?). I'm remembering when I first read Anne Sexton's Transformations, how twisted her "fairy tales" really were. And I'm remembering Norman Dubie's epic science fiction poem, The Spirit Tablets at Goa Lake.

All this adds up to a genre-bending workshop. Let's play with tired old genres like science fiction, mystery, romance. Better yet, let's think of new genres: the 80's teen movie, the period drama with modern music, the underdog team finally winning the big game, the witty archaeologist battling ancient evil. Now I've stepped into the realm of movies, but you get the idea. How can we turn these genres into something new? How can we make them relevant to our current cultural environment? How can we twist, bend, play with them? And are there any other genres I haven't listed? The medical soap opera. The courtroom soap opera. The high school soap opera. The possibilities are endless.

from Anne Sexton's "Cinderella"

You always read about it:
the plumber with the twelve children
who wins the Irish Sweepstakes.
From toilets to riches.
That story.

Or the nursemaid,
some luscious sweet from Denmark
who captures the oldest son's heart.
from diapers to Dior. 
That story.

Or a milkman who serves the wealthy,
eggs, cream, butter, yogurt, milk,
the white truck like an ambulance
who goes into real estate
and makes a pile.
From homogenized to martinis at lunch.

Or the charwoman
who is on the bus when it cracks up
and collects enough from the insurance.
From mops to Bonwit Teller.
That story.

1 comment:

Kathy said...

But it's so much easier to make a huge pile of cash with the old genres! ;)

Loved Anne Sexton's poem. Great post.